Clinical Excellence Awards
Clinical Excellence Awards are awarded within the English National Health Service consultants and academic GPs who perform 'over and above' the standard expected of their role. The present scheme was established in 2003. There is a similar scheme in the NHS in Northern Ireland. In the Welsh NHS there are commitment awards for consultants. In Scotland there is a similar scheme run by the Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards. The schemes are intended to reward consultants who show commitment to the NHS - i.e. do not practice privately.
The administration of the scheme is in the hands of the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards. There are 12 levels of award. Levels 1-8 are awarded locally by employing NHS Trusts, with 8 being the highest, and levels 10-12 (silver, gold and platinum hereafter) are awarded nationally. Level 9 awards can be awarded locally or nationally,and are usually referred to as bronze. In 2010 the value of a Bronze award was £35,484 pa.
Applicants are assessed in five areas:
- Domain 1 – Delivering a High Quality Service
Evidence should show achievements in delivering a service which is safe, quality assured, and where opportunities for improvement are consistently sought and implemented.
- Domain 2 – Developing a High Quality Service
Evidence should show how applicants have significantly enhanced the quality and safety of the local service(s) more widely within the NHS.
- Domain 3 – Leadership and Managing a High Quality Service
Evidence should show how applicants have made a substantial personal contribution managing a local service, or national/international health policy development.
- Domain 4 – Research and Innovation
Evidence should show how applicants have made a contribution to research over and above their contractual obligations.
- Domain 5 – Teaching and Training
Evidence should show how teaching and training forms a major part of the contribution applicants make to the NHS, over and above contractual obligations.
The nature of the scheme tends to reward academic clinicians who can produce impressive and well documented research.
The coalition government conducted a review of the scheme whose report was published in 2012.
The Royal Commission on the National Health Service described the system of distinction awards in 1979. Awards were made on the advice of the Advisory Committee on Distinction, a predominantly professional body traditionally headed by a distinguished doctor. The total value of awards was about £20m per annum, 10% of total consultant remuneration. About half of all consultants received an award during their careers. At any one time, just over a third were award holders. There were four levels of award, with annual values ranging from £2,664 for level C with 3421 beneficiaries to £11,880 for A+ awards of which there were 140. Awards were then secret, and there was criticism that most went to consultants in teaching hospitals and the more glamorous specialities.